Saturday Night: Coheed and Cambria at Bayou Music Center
The last time Coheed and Cambria came through town, they were opening for Iron Maiden at The Woodlands. I'd never really considered Coheed to inhabit the same universe as those heavy-metal gods; their music is a tad too gentle and bright to conjure comparisons to "Number of the Beast." But I guess the metal hallmarks are all there: the comic-book lyrics, the histrionic front man, the shout-along choruses.
The band proved once again that they can bang with the heavyweights at Bayou Music Center on Saturday night, headlining a bill with a couple of the country's finer purveyors of thinking-man's metal.
Chicago's Russian Circles seemed to go on nearly the minute the doors opened, but a large crowd was already inside the venue to catch them. The heavy instrumental trio was a little hard to see, lit only by what appeared to be a couple of 60-watt bulbs onstage. There was no trouble hearing them, however, as the entire crowd was good enough to shut up and listen to Russian Circles' spacey marches.
As they crescendoed from proggy, fingerboard-tapping guitar passages to pulverizing metal riffs, the audience clapped and hooted along. A few big joint rips were blown up toward the stage, indicating that a few of us were probably enjoying the band's heavier, stonier passages a bit more than others.
Up next, Between the Buried and Me jumped all over the musical map during their set. The band likes to cram every iteration of rock and roll that comes to mind into their songs, and they showed off their full repertoire on Saturday. Vocalist Tommy Rogers played a few jaunty keyboard lines and even a little synthesized marimba when he wasn't screaming his guts out.
BTBAM transitioned seamlessly from swingin' honky-tonk to some of the most ferocious blastbeats to have graced the stage at Bayou Music Center in recent memory. Over and over again, guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Warring would entrance, then eviscerate.
Devil horns and smart phones stayed in the air through it all. Fans seemed to fear that if they started moshing, they might miss a note.
The crowd remained abuzz -- especially outside in the overcrowded smoking area -- as Coheed's stage setting was moved into place. Flanking the group's amps were two identical cohorts of featureless white mannequins...busty ones.